“When you’re writing, it’s rather like going on a very long walk, across valleys and mountains and things, and you get the first view of what you see and you write it down. Then you walk a bit farther, maybe up onto the top of a hill, and you see something else. Then you write that and you go on like that, day after day, getting different views of the same landscape really.” Roald Dahl
As the author of beloved children’s classics like James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald surely knows the joys and pitfalls of the writing journey.
I love comparing writing a book or story to going on a “very long walk,” don’t you? There’s something leisurely and open-hearted about it, isn’t there? Just think of what happens on that long walk:
We are out and about, ready to take in whatever the world offers us.
We are free to see and explore, without any agenda or expectations.
We cross valleys and mountains—we experience ups and downs.
We have moments where we see the big picture and what it might be.
So often, we forget that when it comes to writing, we are in uncharted territory. We can read about it, attend seminars, and talk with people, but in the end it comes down to just us and the page.
If we can think of working on a project as taking a “very long walk,” I think it frees us to let go of the push and pull of wanting to get somewhere. Sometimes, just letting go of our agenda and goals can fee us up to discover exactly what we need to move us forward.
So let’s “freelax” about it all, as my son Alex told me once when he was little. Let’s think of the journey we’re taking as a joyful, “very long walk.” It may take us a while to get there—writing is a very, very long, slow process,” Roald observes, but let’s enjoy the journey. Write on!
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